Letters, Monday, November 4, 2013

Have your say

Change vote to bring city changes

WITH reference to Coun Robert Oliver’s recent letter regarding Sunderland City Council’s Chief Executive’s salary remaining at £175.699 – higher than the Prime Minister’s £142,500 – he omitted to mention that the Chief Executive, Dave Smith, also receives a salary for Acting Returning Officer at UK parliamentary elections and local and European elections.

 This brings his pay up to the thick end of a quarter of a million pounds.

 Of course, that’s exclusive of perks such as his non-contributory pension payments to his index-linked pension, private healthcare for him and his family, company vehicle, expenses, etc.

 And was there any comeback when boxes of postal votes fell out of a lorry onto Sunderland streets last year?

 Of course not – nice work if you can get it!

 Remember Sunderland voters. Repeating the same action will not produce a different outcome. You need to change the way you vote.

Richard Elvin,

chairman, UKIP North East Regional Committee

Get history right

IN his letter of October 10, R Scott claimed that the Conservative-led Government was “the Government of the zero-hour contract”.

 Some interesting facts have been published regarding zero-hour contracts.

 Firstly, the uses of zero hour contracts increased by 75 per cent between 2004 and 2009 – under Labour.

 Secondly, there are the same proportion of people on these contracts now as there were in 2009/10.

 Trying to rewrite history is okay as long as you know history.

Alan Wright

Pointless shops

SHOP Sunderland First – that’s a laugh.

 On three separate occasions, in as many weeks, I went to Boots for to buy some toner and each time I I was told it was out of stock. My solution was to change to another product.

 I then tried to purchase some drawer liners. I tried all the shops in Sunderland that might stock them and was told at each one that they would be getting them for Christmas or ‘our Newcastle store will have them’.

 As I will be very busy for Christmas I want them before this.

 Next occasion, trying to shop in Sunderland at our excuse for an M&S store, I tried to buy some pillows as there was 20 per cent off homewear.

 Guess what I was told: “We had to take the homewear off to get our Christmas stock in.”

 I couldn’t believe this, but they said: “I can order them for you or our Newcastle or MetroCentre store will have them in.”

 So guess where I will shop in future?

A footsore and weary 70-year-old.

Bonfire warning

AS bonfire night approaches, it seems an appropriate moment on behalf of The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) for me to remind all those planning a bonfire to ensure that what they are putting onto the fire is not concealing a hidden killer.

 You might be forgiven for asking why the warning – asbestos is an historical problem, isn’t it? Sadly, this misconception contributes to the deaths of those who unknowingly come into contact with a substance that still poses a very real risk to public health.

 An increase in fly-tipping has followed the economic downturn and some unscrupulous companies have resorted to dumping asbestos waste illegally. It is our fear that people will unknowingly pick up asbestos with potentially fatal consequences.

 Asbestos remains a hidden killer, as diseases relating to it can take up to 20 years to develop and there is no cure. More than 4,500 people still die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres and asbestos remains the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK.

 The message is simple. Under no circumstances be tempted to collect and burn any unknown materials and report any suspicious substances to the authorities.

 If you have any doubts, contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The UKATA website is www.ukata.org.uk and the HSE website www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos, both good sources of advice.

David Nichol,

UKATA Vice-chairman